Last week, a Michigan Senate committee advanced a bill that would allow healthcare providers to discriminate against individuals or object to providing any services if it violated their conscience. Now, a Michigan House committee has advanced two bills that provide a similar “license to discriminate” for adoption agencies. Introduced by Rep. Kenneth Kurtz (R), HB 5763 and HB 5764 allow any child placement agency to discriminate based on “religious or moral convictions” without fear of financial retribution from the state:
A child placing agency is not required to perform, assist, counsel, recommend, facilitate, refer, or participate in a placement that violates the child placing agency’s written or moral convictions or policies. A state or local government entity may not deny a child placing agency a grant, contract, or participation in a government program because of the child placing agency’s objection to performing, assisting, counseling, recommending, facilitating, referring, or participating in a placement that violates the child placing agency’s written or moral convictions or policies.
If the blatant invitation to use state funding to discriminate against Michigan families weren’t odious enough, the bills even acknowledge that the policy has nothing to do with what’s best for the children involved:
Refusal by a child placing agency to perform, assist, counsel, recommend, facilitate, refer, or participate in a placement that violates the child placing agency’s written or moral convictions or policies does not constitute a determination that the proposed adoption is not in the best interests of the adoptee.
Equality Michigan notes that Michigan has 14,000 children in foster care, including 5,000 whose biological parents’ rights have been terminated. These young people could find safe, loving families with same-sex couples, but not if the state’s agencies are free to discriminate for no legitimate purpose other than bigoted beliefs or unfounded stereotypes about the legitimacy of such families. Taxpayer money should not be spent according to the whims of Catholic Charities or other discriminatory agencies.
Conservatives often claim that it’s LGBT activists who are putting their “adult” needs over those of children, but this legislation shows that it’s those who oppose equality who care the least about the fate of children.